Fire Emblem. It’s a wonderful series of tactical RPG-genre games that’s been around with us since 1990. Or, at least that’s what I heard. To be honest, I, like a lot of people, first heard of Fire Emblem through Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube and the only game I have in the franchise is Fire Emblem: Awakening, which came out for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan in 2012 (2013 for Europe and the US). I honestly love the game with a passion. I couldn't put it down ever since I got it for my 19th birthday. At least I wouldn't have if I didn't also have college to worry about. I was 20, and I still had yet to pass the one chapter where the main character, Chrom, and the rest of his army known as the Shepherds, were about to kill King Gangrel, who has been the main antagonist for all of what I've played of the game. By what seemed to be sheer dumb luck, I managed to have an entire week free of assignments to do outside of my classes, so I took all my free time that week to finish the game.
I finally defeated Gangrel with my avatar, who I named Mackenzie, after my own name. After that, the game went swimmingly. Once I had reached Chapter 13, I officially met face-to-screen with my new favorite character, a Plegian Dark Mage named Henry. His dialogue was a riot to read and he was powerful as all heck. However, I was disappointed because I wanted to have my avatar Mackenzie marry him, since you can do that, if I didn't already have her marry Stahl, who was my favorite before Henry came along. Not to mention that everyone else he was compatible with was already married, even one character who was introduced in the immediately previous chapter (there were a lot of horde battles I had to deal with before Henry’s chapter, so that’s how Henry couldn't marry the character introduced before him).
Regardless of my disappointment, I continued the game without pairing him up, and everything went just fine. The Shepherds had defeated the true main villain, Grima, the credits rolled, and every character’s ending was displayed…Except for Henry‘s. After the final ending played, an odd scene began. It was Henry in a moonlit forest. He appeared to be…crying. This was very odd, not only because I never heard of this scene appearing anywhere in the game to begin with, but also that this was very unlike Henry to openly cry like this. He was usually cruel with a smile on his face the whole time. Suddenly, Henry’s dialogue began. “*sigh* Well, Grima’s gone, so that happy ending happened…*sniff* but where’s my happy ending?” He had to be referring to how I wasn't able to pair him up. It just got odder, as one of his favorite animals, a crow, attacked him.
“Ouch! Now even the crows hate me! *sobbing*” It was just plain surreal. There was no way to skip the scene, believe me, I tried. I bit my lip as Henry spoke again. “This… this isn't my fault… It’s hers. It’s all her dang fault! If it wasn't for what she did, no, what she DIDN'T do, I wouldn't be like this!”
Suddenly, it cut to what an in-game battlefield would look like. The only characters on the screen were Henry and three enemies. Henry spoke again, saying, “I know what must be done now.” Henry moved on his own, unarmed, all the way to where the enemies were. They were a Swordmaster, a Sage, and a Berserker. The three of them slowly whittled Henry’s HP away until it was the empty amount of 0. I was afraid and confused at this point. Suddenly, Henry spoke one last time. “Is this…what you wanted? Are you… happy now, Mackenzie?” My eyes widened once he finished speaking and as his sprite faded away slower than normal. The game then cut to black and Henry‘s ending appeared. “This is your fault, Mackenzie. You denied me the one thing I wanted most: a happy ending. Now I’m dead as a doornail, thanks to you.” What the heck was that? I stared at the screen as it retuned to the title. I shook it off and thought it was just in my head. I heard I was able to go back to my save file to replay the game from the point I saved at before defeating Grima. But for some reason, when I tried to, a textbox appeared, saying, “You cannot play this file anymore. It’s all your fault.”
Now I knew this wasn't in my head. I wanted to shriek at the top of my lungs, but I couldn't risk disturbing my roommate, who was napping in the other room. So, I simply deleted my file, as there were no other empty slots left. One was taken up by my 16-year old brother from before I went to college, and the other by my roommate, as she loved the game as much as I did, but didn't have enough money for her own copy. Luckily, I succeeded and replayed the game. I still had three days of my free week left, and I managed to get to Chapter 13 again by the time I had two. I decided to change some pairings around so that I could have my avatar, who I again named Mackenzie, marry Henry. I was ecstatic about this moment, as I would see Henry as himself again. Or so I hoped.
That hope turned out to be false when Chrom’s portrait was replaced by my avatar’s and Henry’s portrait showed itself on the screen. Henry was far from himself. Parts of his cape were burned off, his skin was slightly paler than usual, parts of his clothes and the flesh beneath them were brutally cut, he had a large stab wound through his chest, his wounds had large stains of blood, the mark of a crow’s scratch was scarred on his right eye, and he was crying bloody tears. But that’s not the creepiest part. Unlike normal, Henry’s eyes were open, and those dead-looking violet eyes were staring right at me. Not at my avatar, but at real-life me. Then he spoke, definitely not in his typical cheery fashion.
“Oh, it’s you. I have something to ask you: How could you? You let me die, then you started everything over like it never. Freaking. HAPPENED!?” I was taken aback by this. Was Henry really shouting at me, breaking the fourth wall, for something that happened in a completely different file? For something that SHOULD’NT have happened in the first place? His words made me tear up for some reason. “Is that crying I see? Good, because now you realize how at fault you are!” Now I was freaked out. Now I knew that this wasn't the avatar he was talking to. “I didn't know, Henry, I didn't know!”, I said without even knowing that I said it. “Your words mean nothing to me now. Now, you will pay.” The game suddenly went to black just after Henry’s dialogue. Then it cut to the file select screen. Nothing was changed on my brother’s file or my roommate’s, but the name on mine was no longer “Mackenzie”. It said, “Defect”.
“Defect?”, I thought. What the heck does that mean? I clicked on it, and the file started as if Chapter 13 was over. All the characters were there, even Lucina, who would have appeared at the end of the chapter, but their sprites and portraits had depressed looks on their faces. Except Henry. His sprite was normal and his portrait was the same as when he was just saying how it was ‘my fault’ and how my words meant nothing. The only difference was now he also had a twisted, malicious grin practically stitched onto his face. He was still crying those blood red tears and still looking straight at me. I held my hand over my mouth to keep from screeching and awakening my roommate. I scrolled over my avatar, who was completely normal, except for one thing. Her name was the same as when I just clicked on it: “Defect”.
I closed out of my characters’ roster, only to be confronted with another scene of Chapter 13’s setting. Henry’s portrait appeared once again. He said, “You really are no more than a defect. You've toyed with me, with all the Shepherds, for far too long.” Then, he said one last thing that felt as if it was cutting me like a knife. “I AM BROKEN HENRY, AND NOW, YOU WILL PAY WITH A LIFE.” The game quickly shut itself off by doing who knows what. I practically threw my 3DS on the table and ran to my room to cry. I woke up in the middle of that night, the bangs of my short auburn hair falling in front of my face, as I had a nightmare about Henry. In it, he, in front of my own eyes, murdered my dear parents, my brother, and my roommate, followed by him walking over to me and gutting me like a newly caught fish.
Luckily, I was awake and alive, but I could have sworn I was being watched. Suddenly, I heard a loud, yet quickly quieted scream from the other room where my roommate was. I rushed out of my room over to where the scream came from, only to find that her throat had been slit and her hands sliced off as a mysterious piece of purple fabric was located next to my roommate’s cadaver, which was extremely hot when I felt her skin, as if by fire magic. As I sobbed over the loss of my best friend and roommate, I examined the fabric to find a pale-gold-colored eye on the other side. Then I turned around and noticed a note on top of my 3DS that read, “I told you that you would pay, but I never said it would be with YOUR life. Nya ha ha! ~Broken Henry”
I chuckled, then broke out into psychotic laughter. I think that “Broken Henry” officially broke me. I managed to hide the body of my now deceased roommate in the closet, but I couldn't clean up the blood from her wounds before the cops showed up. I had absolutely no idea why the came or who called them, but I know that it meant trouble. They took only the fabric and my 3DS as evidence, but oddly not the note. I was tried for murder the next day and deemed insane. I’m in the madhouse right now, relaying all of this to an attendant who agreed to type all this up, due to me being in a straitjacket.
You know, if I’m being honest, every night in the darkness of my plush white room, I swear I can see Henry with his dead-looking violet-colored eyes complimented with a twisted, malicious, almost stitched smile and hear him whispering to me, “It’s fun being broken, isn’t it, Mackenzie?”